There is significant variation in the emphasis placed on each MBA applicant evaluation element, but there is also a distinct pattern to what matters most.
We've arranged the seven elements in what we believe is their order of importance. Our rankings are based on our own experience, and we readily admit that they are often contradicted. We have plenty of former applicants at Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and every other top school who were admitted because admissions officers liked something in their applications and threw out the rule book to accept them. So don't be discouraged if you're a little weak in some of the categories that seem important. We have many former students at all three of the schools above who had glaring weaknesses in important categories but managed to convince the admissions staff that they had something valuable to offer.
Keep in mind as you read through the seven evaluation items that their ranking applies only to top-tier MBA programs. Less competitive schools have entirely different motivations behind their admissions decisions.
After running through the seven items, be sure to read about how we work with applicants, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like to join our cohort.